As stated earlier, I was unable to secure a copy of this week's book (although HoJ is working to rectify that!). In lieu of a review of that title, I instead present my review of the first Mice Templar trade.
Mice Templar: The Prophecy TPB
While Michael Avon Oeming and Bryan J.L. Glass certainly embark upon well trodden ground in their first entry into what promises to be a fantasy epic, they combine different mythological elements in such a way to make their story much fresher than it would seem at first glance.
The story begins with an almost beat-for-beat retelling of the first quarter of Star Wars: A New Hope. Our protagonist, Karic, dreams of the days when the Templars and the Maevens protected mouse-kind, only to have the horrors of the real world come crashing down upon his head. In the wake of a tragedy in his village and the disappearance of his friends and family, Karic is taken under the wing of Pilot the Tall, one of the lone survivors of the ancient order of Templars, an order which was torn apart by the civil war which led to the troubles currently facing the world. Karic learns that it is his burden to repair the damage done to his world, and lead mousekind out of the dark ages, and, encouraged by Pilot, he begins his journey to become a Templar and save his family.
While the story begins with pretty typical fantasy fare, it takes a major turn away from fantasy convention towards the end of the book. By the time the conclusion roles around, Karic is uncertain as to his true destiny, but realizes that he must stay the course if he is to rescue his friends and family, and have any hope of repairing the damage done to mouse civilization.
The conclusion of the book leaves the reader wanting more, and the creators are happy to oblige. Included in the TPB is an older story giving us some background on Cassius, another Templar at odds with Pilot, as well as a timeline regarding the history of the Templars’ world, and several essays regarding the disparate mythological elements which underlie the story. It is clear that Oeming and Glass have created a fully realized world for their characters to play in, and I eagerly await further volumes to further flesh out the history of Wotan’s realm.
The art is very stylized, and somewhat “messy,” but it is very dynamic and perfectly suits the story. There are a couple of panels from the city scenes where the mice faces look a little oversimplified and rushed, but overall the art is fantastic, particularly the last couple of pages from the TPB. One other minor quibble is that my copy of the trade seems to have cut off the edges of the panels on a couple of pages. This would not normally be a problem, except that it also cut out some of Cassius’ dialogue during an important scene, although it was easy to ascertain the gist of the dialogue from context.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable story with wonderful art to support it. I highly recommend it for any fans of the fantasy genre.